Meet the Students of HBI

Dec. 6, 2017

By Violet Fearon

This year, HBI is thrilled to have a number of students working in various positions to help the institute's core mission of promoting research on the intersection between Jews and gender.

Menachem Bandel is a senior triple-majoring in economics, political science and international and global studies. Menachem was born in Miami, Florida, and raised in Venezuela; he now resides in Miami. He is passionate about the issues facing Venezuelans — his experience of both Latin American and U.S. culture has opened his eyes to the importance of giving back to those less fortunate. Menachem is especially interested in his Latin American Jewish heritage; as a segment of the Jewish community that is not frequently discussed, he is eager to use his knowledge to spread awareness of the diverse cultures that Judaism encompasses.

Menachem enjoys spending time with his friends, studying Latin American and Middle Eastern politics, and baseball. He is also a teaching assistant for the undergraduate business program and works for Brandeis Escort and Safety Services. Menachem works for Dalia Wassner, HBI Research Associate and the director of the Project in Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies.

Violet Fearon is a freshman at Brandeis from Pleasantville, New York, who writes for HBI's Fresh Idea blog. While she has not yet declared a major, Violet is interested in creative writing, film and literature; she is also a member of Brandeis’s Humanities Fellowship Program. Outside of classes, Violet enjoys writing short stories and screenplays.

Yael Jaffe is an undergraduate at Brandeis, triple-majoring in women's, gender, and sexuality studies; Near Eastern and Judaic studies; and sociology. After Brandeis, she plans to attend graduate school to continue studying the intersections of Judaism and gender, and ultimately hopes to work in academia. She also hopes to continue her involvement in Jewish study and community leadership. In Yael's sophomore year, her advisor, Professor ChaeRan Freeze, introduced her to HBI. Last year, Yael helped to found the Jewish Feminist Association of Brandeis, and immediately reached out to HBI to establish a relationship between the organizations. Since then, she’s served as a liaison between JFAB and HBI. In her free time, Yael enjoys cooking, studying in the Beit Midrash, rewatching "The Office" and singing with her a capella group, Company B.

Sarah Kirchick is an undergraduate at Brandeis considering either becoming an independent interdisciplinary major or majoring in psychology. Raised in Boston and California, Sarah hopes to someday work in a hospital setting as a psychologist; she is especially interested in working with developmentally delayed children, as well as patients with personality disorders, depression, and anxiety. As such, she is especially interested in the work at HBI from a psychological standpoint. Sarah enjoys art, playing with children and animals, learning new things, and tabletop games. She is a student research partner for Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, an HBI Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence.

Reid Kurtz is a graduate student from Anchorage, Alaska, helping HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe to update the syllabus for a spring semester course entitled Gender, Multiculturalism and the Law in the Liberal Tradition. Reid is a dual-degree student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, where she is getting a master's degree in sustainable international development; she is also getting a JD from Northeastern University School of Law. Reid hopes to work as a lawyer in international development and human rights law, with a specific focus on the problems faced by immigrants and displaced persons.  In her free time, Reid enjoys reading, traveling, rewatching "Parks and Recreation," and spending time outside with her dog, Chela.

Rachel Snyderman is a sophomore and a prospective major in psychology with a minor in Hispanic studies. She hails from Washington, D.C., and loves to sing, bake, draw and pet dogs. As a Jewish woman, Rachel was initially drawn to HBI because of their focus on topics impacting Jews and gender. In addition to her work for HBI, Rachel is a Peer Advocate at the Brandeis Rape Crisis Center and a member of Rather Be Giraffes A Capella and the Brandeis Reform Chavurah. She is HBI's student office assistant.

Amaranth Weiss is a master's student in anthropology from Charlotte, North Caroline. She’'s currently working on a study of religious divorce in Boston as part of the Agunah Task Force Project, funded by a grant from the Brandeis Provos's Innovative Inquiry Fund and the Miriam Fund of Combined Jewish Philanthropy. After Brandeis, Amaranth is considering pursuit of a PhD and ultimately hopes to teach. She enjoys swimming and singing, and is involved with multiple choral groups.

Violet FearonViolet Fearon, a freshman and Humanities Fellow, is the HBI student blogger.